Martin Roberts

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Martin Roberts' "My home from home"’ written by Martin Roberts
Packing for your caravan holidays is a highly skilled task, reckons Practical Caravan columnist and TV star Martin Roberts, who concedes it's not his forte

I've always considered our caravan to be a bit of a Tardis. It doesn’t look grand or expansive from the outside, but step through the door and you enter a parallel universe where the space-caravan continuum bends in such a way that an unfeasibly large amount of stuff can be stored in an illogically small area.

I’ve never done it, but I reckon if you laid out flat all the items within an average caravan, they would fill a football field. I once saw an artwork at the Tate Modern, where, in a huge gallery, somebody had taken a garden shed and recreated in three dimensions what it would be like if it exploded. There were pots of paint, garden implements, tools and plant pots coming out at all angles. In order to replicate this with a caravan, they’d have to use the main Turbine Hall.

I’m really not sure how the caravan designers do it, but they seem to use every square centimetre of the caravan’s interior. There are cupboards and drawers of every shape, size and orientation imaginable. They fill the most unfathomably small gaps and crevices. There are no DIY, standard-size kitchen cabinets here either. I imagine the boffins use units of measurement that haven’t been employed since the time of the Aztecs. Try replacing one ‘off the shelf ’. No chance!

I have to confess that efficiently stacking, folding, rolling, squeezing and balancing items in the available storage orifices is not my strong point. It is my wife’s territory. She spends many happy hours rearranging cupboards and maximising the available spaces. Every time we go away, some new accessory or kid’s play thing appears from the deepest bowels of the van.

“Where did that inflatable kayak come from?” I ask in mild disbelief. “Oh, there’s a huge storage area under the bed that I’ve just discovered,” she responds, as cheerful as can be.

It would seem that a touring caravan’s interior is like a sweet shop for the organisationally obsessed.

Even though we’ve had this van for a few years now, I’m convinced that there are cupboards and drawers that we have still not discovered. Every so often, a digital alarm clock emits its ‘my batteries are dying’ squawk from somewhere, and all attempts to locate it prove futile. I don’t know where to start my hunt for the electronic annoyance, other than dismantling the entire interior or setting upon the van with a chainsaw.

I’m reminded of those Victorian writing cases with numerous concealed compartments. Perhaps there’s a secret button or a code word that I have to shout for the caravan to reveal its secret spaces. Failing that, I may have to accept that there will always be a part of my caravan that is forever mysteriously hidden.

Visit Martin’s website for information about him, his books and his property training weekends, and follow his adventures on Twitter
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